Ludhiana: In a historic initiative aimed at ensuring supply of cheap sand and gravel to the public, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann today dedicated 16 public mines here to the masses thereby ensuring pit head price of sand to Rs 5.50 per cubic feet.

Interacting with the media persons after dedicating 16 public mining sites spread over seven districts here today, the Chief Minister said that the state government has fulfilled another poll guarantee made with the people. He said that the state government has eradicated the sand mafia which had flexed its muscles in the past to ensure that people get cheap sand. Bhagwant Mann said that now the sand will be sold at just Rs.5.50 in each of these public mining sites thereby giving a major reprieve to the people.

The Chief Minister said that only manual excavation of sand will be permitted in these public mining sites and no mechanical excavation of sand will be allowed. He categorically said that no mining contractor will be allowed to operate in these public mining sites. Bhagwant Mann said that sand from public mining sites will only be sold for use in construction of non-commercial projects.

The Chief Minister said that sale of sand will happen only till sunset and a government official will always be present to regulate the extraction of sand at each public mining site. He said that the state government has built an app which will give complete information to people about public mining sites and will even facilitate online payments. Bhagwant Mann said that 16 mines have been dedicated to the people and by next month 50 more such mines will be operational across the state.

The Chief Minister said that an app has been launched that will be linked to Google maps and will guide the person to the nearest public mine. He said that it will ensure supply of cheap sand to the people and check their exploitation by contractors and transporters. Bhagwant Mann said that it will boost the rural economy as a large number of youth and labour will be engaged in this exercise, leading to higher incomes.

The Chief Minister said that it will eliminate middlemen in the sale and purchase of sand and gravel, leading to empowerment of the common man. He said that it is now one of the lowest rates at which sand is available to any person across the country. Bhagwant Mann said that the presence of public mining sites will automatically distort the prices and cause them to stabilise at a lower level, as these mines present a regular alternate avenue for the common man for purchasing cheap sand.

The Chief Minister said that operation of the mines will be completely a transparent process as CCTV cameras have been installed to keep 24 hours surveillance on it. He said that apart from this Police patrolling will be ensured on these public sites to keep a check over it. Bhagwant Mann said that these Mines will be operational from 6 am in the morning to 7 pm from April 1-September 30 and from 7 am to 5pm from October 1 to March 31.

The Chief Minister categorically said that the sand mafia that had flourished during the previous government regimes will no longer exploit the people. He unequivocally said that those who have minted illegal money through the sand mines will be held accountable for their misdeeds. Bhagwant Mann said that those people who have committed this heinous and unpardonable crime with the state will not be spared at any cost.

Listing the several guarantees fulfilled by the state government so far, the Chief Minister said that within ten months of assuming the charge the state government has eliminated the transport mafia. He said that free power has been provided to 87% households of the state since July, 2022. Bhagwant Mann said that more than 26,000 government jobs have been provided so far to the youth of the state and more are in pipeline.

The Chief Minister further said that the state government has started 500 Aam Aadmi Clinics across the state to impart quality health services in the state. He said that to deliver the best education to the students ‘Schools of Eminence’ have been set up across the state. Bhagwant Mann said that to upscale the expertise of the Principals, a batch of 36 Principals have been sent to Singapore for professional training.

The Chief Minister said that this is the dawn of new and vibrant Punjab adding that the day is not far when with the strenuous efforts of the state government, Punjab will lead the country in every sphere. He said that his government is duty bound to restore the pristine glory of the state and no stone will be left unturned for it. Bhagwant Mann solicited the support and cooperation of people of the state to ensure a progressive and prosperous Punjab.



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